CPSIA: “We are sorry to report…”

by Walter Olson on March 11, 2009

Fewer options for kids in Santa Rosa, California:

We are sorry to report that Eleven 11 Kids has been forced to close its doors as of February 10, 2009 due to the new federal children’s environmental law, CPSIA, (HR4040) that went into effect on 2/10/09.

And then the store explains in some detail why it felt it had to close. It is too polite, perhaps, to mention that both California senators, Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, played prominent roles in getting CPSIA passed, with Boxer in particular pushing the retroactive phthalates ban that has been notably harmful to resellers.

Plowed under

At ShopFloor, Carter Wood writes that the Senate version of the bill was (even) more extreme in its provisions than the House version, and that the Senate version unfortunately “wound up playing a bigger role in the writing of the final bill”. The Hospice of Amador and Calaveras Thrift Store, in California’s Sierra Nevada, is still operating but has stopped carrying children’s items.

In Ellensburg, Washington, north of Yakima, Cheryl Smith was “living the American dream” with her store Hailina’s Closet, which “opened last April and [sold] gently used children’s clothing and toys.” But it is just a memory now. The Kitsap Sun reported that Perfect Circle, a Bremerton children’s consignment store, also had to go out of business.

A few more reports from Goodwill: Roanoke, Virginia, Le Mars, Iowa (rare good news, some items being put back on shelves), Rock County, Wisconsin.

{ 2 trackbacks }

An Explosion of Litigation | OpenMarket.org
03.14.09 at 10:36 am
Trojan Horse “Food Safety” Law | OpenMarket.org
04.09.09 at 7:27 pm

{ 15 comments }

1 Mars Feeney 03.11.09 at 12:47 pm

I live near Santa Rosa, am a lifelong democrat, and I voted for both Boxer and Feinstein. I have always admired Senator Feinstein and so am sad to say I may not be able to vote for her again. But under no circumstance will I vote for anyone who does not work vigorously to fix, or better yet repeal, CPSIA. I know for a fact I am not the only democrat that feels this way. CPSIA and common sense are mutually exclusive.

I am not angry with this law for personal financial reasons. The company I work for is large enough, with a product line aimed largely at adults, that the hit we take will be relatively small.

I am angry because CPSIA hurts families and it hurts children. It takes so much away from children and it does so indiscriminently without any regard to actual dangers. I have a 5 year old daughter and I find this utterly unacceptable.

2 Mars Feeney 03.11.09 at 1:35 pm

I would also like to point out that I have sent 11 letters regarding CPSIA to both Boxer and Feinstein and have received no meaningful replies. To most of my letters I got no reply. The few replies I did receive were meaningless form letters. If they are awake it’s not obvious.

3 VMS 03.11.09 at 1:57 pm

California is one of the first 4 states to cross the 10% unemployment rate. Good going Feinstein and Boxer! Maybe if a whole industtry weren’t crippled by nonsense, CA would still be below 10% unemployment.

4 BG 03.11.09 at 3:06 pm

It seems very clear that those who were consulted during the construction of this law do not really represent those they say they represent. In addition to members of congress, it is time to let Consumer’s Union and others know that they did not represent us well. CU has done a lot of great work and in the past when they have made mistakes there is a letter to members in the magazine (sometimes sent separately) and circulated in the press to try and correct the damage. No such apology has come forth over CPSIA. The Jan 2009 magazine does mention the new lead laws and then goes on to say “that doesn’t mean we are in the clear” and follows with cribs recalled for entrapment, going after lead in artificial turf and the controversy surrounding BPA (me–the world does not seem safer because of CPSIA). In the same magazine there are recalls for two automobiles–perhaps they should also be banned. Remember, it’s for the Children. Moore has his name on this list but Nord’s is absent, the ALA was in favor until they found out it applied to their books :) BTW I can’t find a retailer on this list from the Congressional Record senate version from July 31, 2008 pages 7870-7871
quote from Mr Levin:
The legislation has the strong support of consumer, scientific and public health organizations. In a letter to Senate leaders, key representatives of these groups called H.R. 4040, a “ground-breaking measure, which will help ensure that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has the resources and regulatory authority it needs to protect consumers and repair our long-broken product safety net.”

Organizations supporting the bill include the following, among others: Thomas H. Moore, Consumer Product Safety Commissioner; Alliance for Patient Safety; American Academy of Pediatrics; American Association of Law Libraries; American Association of University Professors, AZ Conference; American Library Association; Circumpolar Conservation Union; Coalition for Civil Rights and Democratic Liberties; Consumers Union; Consumer Federation of America; Doctors for Open Government; DoorTech Industries, Inc.; Ethics in Government Group, EGG; Federation of American Scientists; Federal Employees Against Discrimination; Focus On Indiana; Fund for Constitutional Government; Georgians for Open Government; Government Accountability Project; HALT, Inc.–An Organization of Americans for Legal
[Page: S7871]
Reform; Health Integrity Project; Information Trust; Integrity International; Kids in Danger; Liberty Coalition; National Consumers League; National Association of State Fire Marshals; National Employment Lawyers Association; National Judicial Conduct and Disability Law Project, Inc.; National Research Center for Women & Families; National Whistleblower Center; No Fear Coalition; OMB Watch; OpenTheGovernment.org; Parentadvocates.org; Patrick Henry Center; Project on Government Oversight; Public Citizen; Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility; Sustainable Energy and Economy Network; Taxpayers Against Fraud; The 3.5.7 Commission; The New Grady Coalition; The Semmelweis Society International, SSI; The Student Health Integrity Project SHIP; Truckers Justice Center; Union of Concerned Scientists; U.S. Bill of Rights Foundation; U.S. Public Interest Research Group; and Whistleblowers USA.

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/C?r110:./temp/~r110jxXOuA

5 BG 03.11.09 at 6:10 pm

Sorry, that link was for the search results and doesn’t work anymore. To get CPSIA results from the congressional record, use this link http://thomas.loc.gov/r110/r110.html

The dates it came up in the House were
July 30, 2008 (final vote)
July 29, 2008
December 19 & 17, 2007

Senate dates are
July 31, 2008 (final vote)
March 7, 2008

6 Nancy 03.11.09 at 6:36 pm

This story is evidence of the lunacy looming over Washington. It is also evidence that power in the hands of politicians is more toxic than Harry Potter.

What will they ban next? School buildings? More children are hurt by negligent school renovations than by books. In fact, schools are the only place that the law requires occupants to be present, even if toxic chemicals are being used. (See http://www.healthyschools.org)

Will they ban computers? A computer contains far more potentially dangerous chemicals than a book.

Will children be forbidden to enter their own homes? Just start with the cleaning and gardening chemicals stored their.

Oops. Maybe we should not give them anymore ideas. But I think you get the drift. Its lunacy, or else someone is in line to make a big profit from all the refitting and reprinting of these books. Lets start looking at the campaign contributions to those lawmakers that supported this ruling.

7 Nancy Swan 03.11.09 at 6:42 pm

Adding to the comment above.
Toxic books are not the culprit. If you want to find out how unconcerned our lawmakers are about children and toxins read http://www.tulanelink.com/stories/swan_09a.htm
or http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/environment/school-air-monitoring1.htm

For some reason, our lawmakers are barking up the wrong tree.

8 Happymom4 03.11.09 at 8:34 pm

Also read the recent Washington Post piece about the many, many children who died in car seats in the heat . . . . . and how there were some bills in place to try to get a safety system built into the vehicles to help prevent that which was scrapped. Read all 5 pages of it if you can–some of the hardest, most gut-wrenching reading you could do–and then wonder “WHY” CPSIA and not that?!

9 DeputyHeadmistress 03.12.09 at 11:08 am

BG, the American Library Association SUPPORTED the bill last year? Oh, my! No wonder they are keeping a stupidly low profile on this, and just keep trusting Waxman et al instead of the people who actually oppose the bill and want it reformed. Hoist by their own petard.

10 BG 03.12.09 at 3:00 pm

DeputyHeadmistress, Yes, I was surprised too but now I can’t resist: They were for it before they were against it. They may have been concerned about the toys in children’s sections and puppets used at story hour and not thinking about the books themselves. I don’t know.

This shows the danger of being in favor (or not) of something before reading the final version of a policy or thinking things through to their logical end. I, also, am in favor of reducing lead exposure, as are most parents I know, but to support alchemy, etc. seems a bit overboard. It may be time (past time) to have a Read the Bills bill introduced in congress. There are folks working on this at downsizedc.org (they have two posts about CPSIA if you search their site)

11 DeputyHeadmistress 03.12.09 at 5:58 pm

It also demonstrates the folly of supporting a bill or a position because the folks you generally agree with politically (or think you do) are in favor of it.

Where can I found out more about the ALA’s support?

12 BG 03.12.09 at 9:15 pm

This is the link to their Washington DC office.
http://www.wo.ala.org/districtdispatch/
http://www.ala.org/
If they were crowing about this new law they took it off the web (unlike USPIRG) yet there are some interesting documents re:CPSIA.

13 William Nuesslein 03.13.09 at 8:15 am

The hazard of lead has been promoted for decades. Perhaps the poor perfomance of inter-city schools resulted from lead poisoning from paint, an idea promoted by Geraldo Rivera. There has been a suggested two or three point IQ depression from lead, but there is a 15 to 20 IQ deficieit in inner-city schools. Further there has been no boost in school performance after lead was removed from gasoline and interial paint.

Policy has been for many years that whatever level of lead is in the blood of children, said level must be reduced even at great cost. Barbar Boxer and Henry Waxman are twits. They do not have a habit of testing their beliefs, almost nobody does so.

As long as the lead mythology is universally held, the arguement that so much is lost in baning books and interfering with home based businesses will be ineffective. These costs do not hold a candle to the belief, a completely fase belief, that we would eliminate the academic gap in inner-city school performance.

14 vyn 03.16.09 at 8:27 am

the problem is that the point wasn’t to ‘save’ our kids from deadly chemicals, but to get all that second-hand market items out of the way so we are forced to buy newly-printed versions of the books. the books aren’t going to be unavailable, we’ll just have to buy new ones at exorbitantly higher prices since the supply will all-of-a-sudden be so low in relation to demand.

15 Stephanie 03.16.09 at 1:00 pm

This story hits home for us. We too, had to close the doors on our children’s resale store. We officially closed on January 31, 2009 to ensure our inventory was liquidated prior to the enactment of the CPSIA on February 10. We owned a franchised resale store, Children’s Orchard. We consulted with legal counsel and were advised that closing up shop was the only “safe” way to do things. There is no way we wanted to take a chance that one of the items in our store exceeded the new law limits, a child gets hurts, we get sued, or worse. We were diligent about checking the recall list, not accepting items that were not well made and in excellent condition, but that was not enough to protect us from the CPSIA. We are parents as well, and who would raise our children while we were engaging in a legal battle, in jail, or similar. The law forced us to close, and though the franchisor is still in business, we could not be part of it. We are not getting any support from the franchisor, they believe our decision to close was absurd and without basis…the law is clear however, and the risk was far to great for us.

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